New Year's is not a big holiday in the Sherwood Family Household. Back a long, long time ago when I was young, childless, and irresponsible enough to enjoy sleep deprivation, I celebrated New Year's. Not being a drinker, my celebrations were always rather calm, but usually involved some attempt to be with boys. Now that I'm 1. married, 2. don't drink, and 3. have small children, New Year's holds absolutely no charm for me. I'm sure that one day the children will clamor to stay up until midnight, and they'll go hog wild staying up all the way until midnight. I'll go to bed.
What New Year's does offer me, however, is Brandon. He doesn't have to work, there's nothing going on while everyone else is sleeping off their hangover, and so it's time for me to get some New Year's cleaning done. I started this tradition in Baku, our last post. Brandon had three days of work off and so we spent three days cleaning out the house from top to bottom in preparation for pack-out. It was so amazing to have all of those dark scary closets cleaned out, sock drawers reorganized, and disorganized cupboards straightened up, that I made it a new tradition right then. "We're doing this every year!" I exclaimed to anyone who was listening. Brandon made a dubious noise and the children groaned. I ignored them.
Last year I spent New Year's unpacking our house so everyone got a reprieve. But only a reprieve.
We kicked off this New Year's holiday with some fun. The girls and I attended The Nutcracker in the afternoon and then picked up everyone else for an evening of bowling with friends. There is a very nice, very new bowling alley tucked away in a corner of the national teahouse (along with a movie theater and grocery store; I guess they decided to make some rent off the very large and ornately decorated space), and so we rang in the New Year's family style, early and with bumpers. We left around 7:30 after the employees got tired of us and shut down all of our lanes (you've been here an hour, and you pay by the hour. I don't care if you only made it to the seventh frame).
After the children were put to bed, Brandon asked what our plans were for the next day. "Well, we've got our yearly New Year's clean out to do..."
"Our what?!?" Brandon replied, "what is this yearly clean out that you're talking about? It's a holiday tomorrow. There is no way I'm spending my whole holiday cleaning out the house. This is not a tradition that I agreed to!"
Usually Brandon is pretty agreeable to a large variety of plans that I propose. He may not like them, but he'll usually go along with a little (or a lot of) cajoling. Sometimes (often) the plans don't turn out exactly like I envisioned them and Brandon will get a little cranky ("you are not my friend right now"), but most of the time he's willing to try out whatever I suggest.
Not so with cleaning out the house. "This is your place of work, and if you think I'm going to spend my entire weekend cleaning it out, you're nuts." I pointed out that it wasn't his whole weekend - there's always Sunday to rest - but it didn't help. "I'm not sure the last time you rested on Sunday, but I haven't rested since we've had children, so no, Sunday does not count."
I tried another tactic. "But don't you want to have the house cleaned out?? After all, we have two and a half more years in this place. Can you imagine what a disaster it will be if we don't clean it out every year?" I threw in a bonus argument, "And won't it be nice to find all of those things that have been hiding in dark corners?"
Brandon refused to be swayed. "This is the sort of thing my father made us do when we were children. And now that I'm adult, I'm not doing it! You can feel free to clean up whatever you like, whenever you like, but don't rope me into your little project. I intend to enjoy my holiday."
Finally, I pulled out my last card, "Okay, you're right. I'll just do it myself.... Have a nice holiday with the children...." It's a dirty trick, but when the stakes are high you've got to play dirty sometimes. "Don't let me get in your way as I clean out the whole house. All three floors. All by myself. After all, it is my place of work. And you deserve a rest. I won't trouble you. Not even a tiny bit."
And that is how Brandon and I spent our New Year's holiday this year. All of the closets are cleaned out, the children's toys are organized, and my shoes are cleaned out. The canning jars are organized, the cereal is stacked in order, the gloves have made their way out of the hat bin and into the glove bin, and all of Brandon's socks match again. Everything is ready for 2016.
And Brandon is already planning on a horrific illness that will strike early on next New Year's Eve.